It’s late January so that can only mean one thing: the Sundance Film Festival is back.
This weekend, the hills of Park City will be alive with celebrity sightings and exclusive parties none of us are getting into. It’s just noise. Those things aren’t the real reasons to be excited about Sundance; the films are.
Last year, films like “Mandy,” “Blindspotting,” “Hereditary,” “Eighth Grade,” and “Leave No Trace” premiered. Last year’s festival was a buffet of cinematic delights. Many of those films ended up highly praised, in awards competition, and on “best of” lists. It was a great year.
This year, the films look just as varied and each one of them holds potential to be great.
These are a few of the films I’m looking forward to:
“Velvet Buzzsaw” — Director Dan Gilroy and Jake Gyllenhaal teamed up in the superb “Nightcrawler,” so I’m excited to see what kind of darkly demented stuff they come up with when they take on the world of boutique art dealers. Side note: You’ll be able to see this one real soon as it comes out on Netflix before the festival is even over.
“The Report” — This star-studded film is about the government investigation that unearthed the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation techniques.” It promises to be quite the political thriller.
“Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile” — Heartthrob Zac Efron is taking on the role of the infamous Ted Bundy.
This is one of those movies that you read about and you think to yourself, this can either be insanely terrible or one of the best movies of the year. There’s no middle ground.
“Apollo 11” — Oh boy, this looks like it was made just for me. Piecing together never-before-seen archival footage this documentary chronicles NASA’s 1969 flight to the Moon.
“The Sound of Silence” — This one is strange. The director, Michael Tyburski, was a fellow for music and design at Skywalker Sound. It’s about a man (Peter Sarsgaard) who is a “house tuner.” It sounds oddly far-fetched and weird, but it also promises to be an auditory feast.
“Wounds” — This psychological thriller stars Armie Hammer and Dakota Johnson. It follows a bartender who finds a phone left at his bar. A series of weird, unsettling text messages start coming through so him and his girlfriend start investigating.
This is only six films out of the 100-plus films premiering at the festival. There are always a handful of films that jump out and surprise everyone. Those are the ones that are exciting to find. That’s why attending the festival is so rewarding. Go for the movies, forget the noise.